Poonam is the smallest, quietest child in Mrs. Wig's Class One--a typical British multiracial group where many of the names seem to be Indian. But when the children are encouraged to bring their pets for a special assembly--and after Ranjeev mentions that he has a giraffe--Poonam whispers to Mrs. Wig that she has lions. On assembly day, uproarious with the comments exchanged by the many dogs and cats, Ranjeev's ""giraffe"" proves to be a spotted rabbit; but Poonam really does bring six huge, well-behaved lions that do tricks and give rides before going home again. The lions are never to return, but Poonan has learned to use a loud voice when she has something really important to say. The fantasy element is not perfectly integrated here--those lions just appear, and disappear, without comment--but it does add a comic incongruity to what is otherwise a realistic school-story, agreeably illustrated by Dowling's deftly sketched kids, expertly deployed in their busy classroom. Mildly diverting.